Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Recipe: Rachael Ray's chicken and green bean casserole

(In case you are wondering, I didn't just put a large clump of fried onions on the top of this and forget to spread them out.  We had this on Valentine's day weekend, so I was trying to be festive with a heart.)

I saw this recipe on Rachael Ray one day while I was ironing. Not that ironing has anything to do with this story but I like to be as accurate as possible and I watch a lot of weekday television shows that I've DVR'd while ironing. Anywho, this recipe caught my eye and has been a favorite for Mike and I ever since.  The leftovers are also good...and this dish can feed an army (not that that is necessary for a household of just 2 people, but I always like to have an arsenal of recipes in the back of my head for when we have guests staying with us.  We don't have much space in our kitchen to make or store large meals, so one dish casseroles like this really work well. 

I'm a sucker for a the fried onions that come in a container from the grocery store. Not sure what it is but man, oh man do I love them.   But over the past year or so, we've decided that green bean casserole using the cream of mushroom soup in a can just tastes a bit gross.  I don't know what it is but every time I made green bean casserole, we were both thinking, eh...better luck next time.  

I have also just learned that most soup cans are lined with BPA - you know that nasty contaminant that gives you cancer?  Yep, that one.  So it seems like our taste buds were ahead of their time in telling us to not eat that stuff anymore and make green bean casserole from scratch.  And that, my friends, is what I did.  And I'm sold.  This recipe is a keeper.  As with any recipe it seems, I have a few additions or subtractions to make it my own. My notes are in italics.  This recipe is a great use up for leftover chicken breasts.  I also like to add frozen peas to just about anything I can, so this recipe has them too. I mean, why not toss in a few more green veggies?  Anytime I can add vegetables to the main dish I do. 

1 1/2 lbs green beans, trimmed and cut into thirds (I just toss a few big handfuls of fresh green beans into a bag and call it good enough.)
1T. Olive oil
4 T. butter
1 pkg of button mushrooms, sliced
2 large shallots, chopped (I don't have these on hand all the time, if I do, I'll toss them in, otherwise I omit them)
3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 T. fresh thyme, chopped (I used this the first time I made it, it's really good, but not necessary as I forgot to pick it up from the grocery store the next time I made this dish and everything turned out just fine.)
4 T. flour
1/2 c. white wine
2 c chicken stock
1 c. half and half
1 (5.4 oz) wheel of garlic and herb Boursin (this is key! it's the secret-but-not-secret ingredient)
1 1/2 lbs of pulled chicken (Typically I just use 2 chicken breasts)
1 c. frozen peas
1 container of fried onions 

Rachael Ray makes her own fried onions, since I have a love of the already made fried onions, I don't spend the time making my own. But check out Rachael's complete recipe in case you want to make them from scratch. 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees (instructions below if you want to make this ahead, if you are doing that, don't preheat the oven.)

Bring a few inches of water to a low boil in a skillet. Add salt and beans, cook 3-4 minutes until tender-crisp, drain.  I use the colander double boiler thing (because I have it and I like to be equal opportunity in the kitchen with all the lovely all-clad pots and pans that I have, so I just cook the beans in the double boiler thingy, but you can go about whichever way you wish.) 

Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium to medium high heat. Add mushrooms, brown them lightly for 7-8 minutes.  Add shallots, garlic and season with salt, pepper and thyme.  Stir 2-3 minutes.  Add flour. Stir 1 minute.  Add wine. Stir in chicken stock and thicken.  Add cream and reduce heat to a simmer. Add Boursin cheese, beans, frozen peas, chicken and thicken just a bit. 

Transfer to a baking dish.  If you are making this ahead of time, you can cool this, cover and refrigerate and then on the day you want to eat it, bring the dish back to room temp before backing at 374 until bubbly (about 50-60 minutes). 

If you are going to make it and eat it on the same night. Stick the dish in the oven at 375 for about 25-30 minutes or until bubbly.  Top with either the homemade or store-bought fried onions and cook for about 5 more minutes until the onions are browned. 

Serve and enjoy!

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